DEVELOPERS behind major surf reef plans in Dorset say obtaining planning permission is a “fantastic milestone”.

W. H. White Ltd has been granted planning permission on appeal for its scheme off the A31 in St Leonards.

The approved plans include a man-made surf lagoon and extension to Avon Heath Country Park incorporating a new visitor centre, café, and day nursery.

A representative of W. H. White Ltd said: “This is a fantastic milestone for the project and we are delighted that planning permission has been granted.

“We will now take time to review the decision and consider our next steps, including looking to partner with a surf lagoon technology provider.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported the proposals and hope to provide an update later in the summer.”

W. H. White had launched an appeal against a non-determination of the scheme, and on February 19, a planning inspectorate ruled that planning permission should be granted.

However, Dorset Council has since said it would not be offering its land at Avon Heath Country Park for inclusion within the scheme.

The country park was proposed to be “updated and improved” as part of the plans, noted W. H. White.

The developer added that while the council own the park, the land proposed for the surf lagoon and park extension was privately owned.

W. H. White maintain the plans are a “once in a generation opportunity for a world class surf lagoon, enabling Dorset to cement its reputation as a surf destination and hold its own against cities that are already drawing visitors, tourism and expenditure from the region”.